Habitat & Conservation  |  01/31/2024

Excited to Return to Sioux Falls


Chef, food writer, and outdoorsman Hank Shaw returns to National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic

By Hank Shaw

I’m excited to be returning not only to National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, but to Sioux Falls, because, well, last time around things went sideways.

It was 2018, and my cookbook Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail was premiering at the show. I was so excited for this, and to be able to do this in South Dakota, one of the best places to hunt upland birds in the nation was perfect. I’d had hundreds of books shipped to sell and had a full slate of presentations for the wild game cooking stage.

Alas, it was not to happen. That first night, I started feeling ill. Really ill. Shaking. Fever. Vaguely hallucinogenic. I’d just returned from a hunting trip in Arizona, and my initial fear was a fungal ailment known as Valley Fever, which can be deadly. By morning, I was done for.

I vividly remembered huddling in the press room of the convention, waiting for Holly to pick me up so we could go to the emergency room at Sanford. I stayed there all day, as doctors tested this and that. I missed the show, and later almost died.

It wasn’t Valley Fever. It was antibiotic resistant bacterial pneumonia. I was in the hospital for a week.

I soldiered on that book tour, with many bumps in the road. But I missed my chance in South Dakota.

Now I’ll be back. I’ll on the Path to the Uplands Stage to help you get the most out of your upland game birds: pheasants, quail, sharpies, prairie chickens, ruffed grouse, you name it. I'll be talking about all the ways you can get more out of your game - primarily upland birds, but I'll take questions about any wild food. I'll give you easy tips and tricks to use beyond the breast meat and backstrap.

I’ll have some books to sign, too. But really, I am just glad to be back. Let’s hope the Creeping Crud doesn’t get me a second time, or I’ll start to wonder about you, South Dakota…

Hank Shaw is a chef, food writer, and outdoorsman who runs the wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. Shaw is also the author of the cookbook, Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail and will be speaking on the Path to the Uplands stage at the 2024 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

The 2024 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic will take place at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls on March 1-3. Tickets and more information can be found at: PheasantFest.org.